CLEVELAND -- The last time Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis enjoyed a hot streak like he has this month, he found himself on the American League All-Star team for the first time. Two years later, Kipnis is making a strong case for a return trip to the Midsummer Classic.
Kipnis, who made the AL All-Star team in 2013 following an incredible offensive tear in June, was not among the top five at his position when the first round of AL All-Star balloting results were released on Tuesday afternoon. Cleveland left fielder Michael Brantley -- ranked ninth among AL outfielders -- was the team's lone representative in the first look at the ongoing fan voting.
Kipnis' torrid May has pushed him to the top of the leaderboard among his positional peers in multiple categories. Even so, Houston's Jose Altuve (1,301,754 votes) led the way among AL second basemen, followed by Kansas City's Omar Infante, Detroit's Ian Kinsler, Toronto's Devon Travis and Boston's Dustin Pedroia.
"He will be," said Indians manager Terry Francona, when told Kipnis was not among the leading votegetters. "Those things have a way of taking care of themselves. Generally speaking, the guys that are going to be leading those things are the major markets, the teams that are drawing. That's not us right now.
"Kip made it before based on his play. The way he's playing now, I'd be surprised if he doesn't make it again. He got hot that June and played himself on to it. This year, he started a lot earlier."
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- on their computers, tablets and smartphones -- using the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot until Thursday, July 2, at 11:59 p.m. ET. For the first time, voting is exclusively online, where fans may submit up to 35 ballots.
Fans may also receive the ballot by texting VOTE to 89269 (USA) or 101010 (Canada). Or text VOTA for a ballot in Spanish. Message and data rates may apply. Up to five messages. No purchase required. Reply STOP to cancel. Reply HELP for info.
Following the announcement of the 2015 All-Stars, be sure to return to MLB.com and cast your 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote for the final player for each league's All-Star roster. On Tuesday, July 14, watch the 2015 All-Star Game live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2015 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.
MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of All-Star Week festivities.
The 86th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Heading into Tuesday's action, Kipnis ranked first among AL second basemen in average (.337), on-base percentage (.408), slugging percentage (.508), OPS (.916), doubles (13), hits (61) and total bases (92). He ranked second in runs (32) and extra-base hits (20), and third in stolen bases (five). Kipnis also had four home runs and 21 RBIs, working mostly as the Tribe's leadoff man.
Through 23 games in May, Kipnis was hitting at a .447 clip with 13 RBIs, 17 extra-base hits and 25 runs scored for the Indians.
Brantley, who was Cleveland's lone All-Star representative last summer, is also a strong candidate for inclusion in the festivities again this summer. Entering Tuesday, Brantley ranked in the top five among AL outfielders in OBP (.398), SLG (.510), OPS (.908), RBIs (27), doubles (16), walks (21) and extra-base hits (20). He was also batting .315 with four homers, 20 runs and only 10 strikeouts. This year's All-Star Game will take place in Cincinnati at Great American Ball Park.